The Chamber had the Board Retreat last Thursday at Spring Valley Ranch in the fabulous Lodge.  The board was treated to lunch and then gathered around the grand fire place to discuss the year’s events.

A review of the goals that were set last year were first presented which noted a very small loss of members this year and a strong growth in membership.  This has helped provide financial stability to the chamber and the activities of the past year.  One of the best moves was to hire the right member services director in Kristal Hodges.  She has made contact with most every member and brought many past members back to support the work of the chamber.

One of the first changes this year was to improve communication with our members and the general public.  In this day and age most every member has the ability to receive information through internet.  What this has done is reduce the amount of postage and paper; it is also a Green thing.  This included our quarterly newsletter that has come out before our major events.  Technology has been improved by the addition of a copier that can cut our printing costs as well as a lap top computer we take to events and again reduce our use of paper and better keep track of attendance and billing.

2008 President Judy Florida had charged the staff with making our monthly meetings for the membership meaningful and not just a social gather.  Other things this year we have had presentations on includetopics from water quality programs to how to market your business.  A new dimension to marketing member businesses was offered by the Grand Lake Live Radio Show, for five dollars you could put your name in the hat to be drawn for a spot on the Friday evening program.  Many have taken advantage of this and at the same time these donations paid for a marketing seminar that was very useful to those how attended.

Our marketing opportunities are expanding as we have joined Green Country Marketing Group and this coming year we will offer economical ways to get the word out about member businesses.  We are continuing to work with groups wanting to expand and open new businesses in the Grand Lake Region. 

An effort has been taken and is being expanded to work with our local towns that are making strategic plans for the future to continue to offer services to our growing lake community.  Meetings have taken place and are scheduled to meet with local town leadership and the area Chambers of Commerce to better communicate events and needs.  We are working together!

The newly elected President of the Chamber for 2009, Rusty Fleming, gave us his hopes for our moving forward that included helping get a grass roots system in place to support water quality issues and GRDA’s SMP proposal that is now in Washington for review from FERC.  Improve our connection with the Oklahoma Tourism Department that has many programs that can help communities and businesses.  Early next year the board will examine the mission statement of the chamber to better define our goals.

Toward the end of the retreat there was an open discussion on our focus and building on our advances of this year.  Great ideas were discussed by each board member on how to better serve out members and community.  We are blessed to have such a great group of citizens to serve our chamber, they all have committed to bring Grand Lake to the next level as the best place to work and the best place to have visitors from around the World come and enjoy Oklahoma’s Best Natural Resource.

If you would like to be a part of this energized group, let us know how you would like to help with these goals.

HAVE A GREAT GRAND DAY!!!

PS:  Have a good Turkey Day!!

Jim Sellers